Tuesday, March 29, 2005

SCOTUS: The resemblance to "scrotum" is not a coincidence.

The Supreme Court ruled today in the case of City of Sherrill v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York, finding against the Oneida Nation. Color me surprised. This is nothing less than a blind continuation of the racist assumption that Indians only possess sufficient land rights to transfer ownership to whites, and no more.

I was briefly amused by the notion that passage of an unspecified amount of time is apparently sufficient pretense to extinguish a claim, I was under the impression that laws and rights are perpetual unless somehow revoked or ceded. Apparently if you're an Indian nation there is a yet to be clearly defined statute of limitations, after which any previous fucking by the US cannot be unfucked. I'm not a lawyer, should that be "de-fucked?"

I once had a conversation with a hysterically funny friend of mine from one of the Pueblos and a melanin challenged person, who kept going on and on about the Constitution in the context that it carried some sort of vast and immeasurable historical weight. My pueblo friend finally said "You keep going on about the Constitution as though it's been around along time. Two hundred years? I own a metate older than that."

One thing which Americans in general and the SC in particular fail to appreciate is that we've been here for thousands of years. Or since the Creation, whatever floats your boat. The two hundred years Ginsburg points to aren't even a drop in the bucket.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Bite me, liberal blogosphere

I'm sick to the point of throwing up at reading liberal bloggers crowing triumphantly over Bush taking four days to say any fucking thing at all about the tragedy at Red Lake. I think it's widely known (although perhaps not accepted) that Bush is a pathetic excuse for a human being. Let's move on.

What is pissing me off is that I'm reading criticism about Bush's lack of response from people who have offered no response of their own. I keep reading "the MSM is not covering this." So cover it. Offer some commentary. "Bush is not saying anything." Neither are you. I'll accept demonstrations of moral superiority when the left side of the blogosphere starts giving a flying fuck in real life about what is happening to the Red Lake Nation in particular and Indians in general, instead of offering deconstruction of the coverage and commentary.

Eric at Wampum is offering some thoughts, and has a PayPal link and a mailing address if you would like to help by donating, or you can donate to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank. Stop by the Red Lake nation's forum and offer condolences. Do something besides sitting on your asses criticizing others for not doing anything.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

How far from ourselves

One of my pet bitches when I survey blogdom is the manner in which the words "tribe" and "tribalism" are (mis)used. Definitions become particularly important when issues like the recent shitstorm surrounding Ward Churchill bring up the issue of What Makes an Indian. That's not a particularly easy question to answer; at a fundamental level a North American Indian tribe is an extended family, so the question was historically a matter of defining who was a member of the family and through what means. When I meet a member of the tribe for the first time, the first thing we do is sit down and hash out exactly how we're related. This serves a variety of purposes, but it first tells us our position in relation to each other, and establishes certain rules governing how we interact.

Everyone who does not live in a cave is aware by now of the terrible events on the Red Lake reservation. It's heartrending enough on the surface, but what I think most non-Indians will fail to appreciate is that this youngster walked into a school and murdered his family.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The one where I made a shank out of my toothbrush.

I've received an overwhelming number of requests -- meaning two out of the three emails I've received since I started doing this -- asking me to spill the sordid details of my arrest. Ha! Not going to do it. Suffice to say I spent two weeks in an El Paso jail because I was young(er) and stupid(er), and still thought that 1) police were somewhat honest, and 2) the system worked. I guess to a certain extent it did work, because all charges were eventually thrown out, but I had to spend two weeks in jail getting to that point for fuck's sake. I should probably mention 3) I was too stubborn to call anyone and ask them to travel two hundred miles and bail my sorry ass out until I'd been in the can for two fucking weeks.

I have to admit, it was one of the most fascinating experiences I've had. Ted Koppel and his overnighter can kiss my ass, I got the unvarnished version. And also learned many interesting and useful things. Number of ounces of heroin a dealer can smuggle over the border in his girlfriend's vagina? Seven (your girlfriend's mileage may vary). Number of grams he can smuggle into jail in his ass? Five.

I was in this pod with about fifteen other guys, over half of whom were Mexicans. Damned if every single day those guys didn't want to watch COPS. Honest to god. We had this one guy in there who was from Las Cruces, he'd been stopped for drunk driving and had the royal shit beaten out of him by the arresting officers. It seems he didn't have a rear view mirror, and in his drunken state (he freely admitted to being shitfaced) did not notice the officer in his side mirror. The ensuing 35 mph chase along a straight stretch of dirt road attracted backup and aroused the ire of the policia, so when he finally did stop, after cuffing him they slammed his face into the hood of his truck a few dozen times for good measure. It took five stitches to close the worst cut, over his right eye, but his face was filled with smaller lacerations.

So day one after we'd been transferred to the El Paso County Dentention Facility Annex we're sitting in front of the television watching, yes, COPS. That particular episode happend to be COPS in El Paso. Sweet, delicious irony. One segment showed El Paso's finest arresting some homeless man...who they proceed to beat the shit out of.

Our Las Cruces guy watched for a minute, and said "Hey, that looks like me."

He peered closely into the tv, then added "Of course, I didn't piss my pants."

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Free Agua Caliente

I was driving around the other day and I saw what looked to be a college student, a fairly scruffy young man with wanabi dreadlocks, driving a beat up old car with a bumper sticker reading "Free Tibet" in rainbow lettering. Now, I'm glad to see young people these days get themselves up for any reason at all, and freedom for Tibet is certainly a worthy cause, but it makes me wonder why I never see bumper stickers saying we should free Pine Ridge. Or San Felipe, Fort Apache, Nez Perce, or Ponca. You get my point. I would hope.

In bad lighting it's difficult for me to make meaningful distinctions between Tibet and Mescalero. I certainly never have Richard Gere dropping by my house to chat about higher consciousness, or sending me huge checks for my services; teaching him to cry when he sees litter, giving him an Authentic Indian Name (tm), and assigning him a power animal. Nope.

I'm thinking I could strike a huge blow against the Man by creating my own line of colorful bumper stickers, demanding a Free Nambe Pueblo.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Party of Humpty

Amanda over at Mouse Words has a post up in which she wonders:
Can anyone explain to me how people who are against gay marriage now are so damn sure they would have been just dandy with interracial marriage had they lived 70 years ago? Do the people who adamantly oppose feminists striving for wage equality and other women’s rights really think that they would have been pro-suffrage in the day? Do those against affirmative action or pretty much anything the NAACP supports really think they would have been marching in Birmingham? If they’re full of shit, who do they think they’re fooling?
She solicited comments, which I tried, but Blogger comments sucks ass and wouldn’t let me post.

This problem she mentions is the very thing which makes me want to vomit every time Republicans refer to themselves as the Party of Lincoln, while consistently opposing every piece of civil rights legislation which comes down the pike. Unfortunately for those of us who are not bigots, these sorts of perceptual shifts are the work of generations. Conservatives can embrace past changes precisely because they are in the past, what they are chronically incapable of doing is adjusting their current perceptions, no matter how in conflict with reality they may be.

I’d honestly like to hear from anyone who believes that Strom Thurmond embraced integration and racial equality at any point during his lifetime; publicly he had to bow to political reality, I’m speaking of his personal convictions. Modern conservatives accept (at least on the surface) something like interracial marriage because it has been acceptable for most or all of their lifetimes, while gay marriage has not. Fear not though, a hundred years after gay marriage becomes acceptable across the board Republicans will probably refer to themselves as the Party of Judy Garland.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Screw you, Jack Kent Cooke.

Digby recently wrote a post in which he claimed that southern voters are incapable of voting for anyone who doesn't embrace the southern lifestyle, which may or may not be true. Don't know, haven't really thought about it, but the anecdotal evidence seems to bear it out.

Where things get funny is in a response posted on QandO Blog stating that this is waaaaay off base. The whole post reads like a car wreck, but things go horribly awry when the Confederate flag is mentioned:
"You see, while [Confederate flag = racism] is common knowledge among many Democrats and non-Southerners, it comes as a surprise to many Southerners, who grew up around the flag, and yet somehow missed out on the whole "it means you hate black people" angle.

I'm one of those people. I grew up in Georgia, where the Confederate Flag adorned trucks, bumpers, shirts, and--yes, on rare occassions--even flagpoles. In the South, it's simply a regional symbol. Owning a Confederate flag in the South is no more intrinsically racist than following a sports team -- the Washington Redskins -- whose name has racial connotations. And yet, Democrats manage to do that without ritualistic self-flagellation."
There is so much wrong with that, but I really wanted to focus on the Redskins thing. What the author is essentially saying is that racism which has become institutionalized to the point it is viewed as normal is somehow either not racism, or is a totally acceptable form of racism. Whatever you may think about the mascot issue, let's be clear that the word redskin is a racial slur, akin to the word nigger. If the team were called the Washington Niggers, and all the white fans put on their blackface before going to the stadium and rooting for their team by mimicking African chants and making spear throwing motions, there would probably be a protest or two. I'm just guessing.

The problem lies in the fact that Indians are a very small minority, and historically have exercised little or no control over the way in which we are represented in American pop culture. Items like the mascot issue have become so deeply ingrained in American culture, and have been presented without question for so long, people accept that they are both normal and non-discriminatory without question. I agree with the author that the Confederate flag fracas and the mascot issue are similar, but the claim that race is not involved in either is fundamentally unsound.

Indian Time

Sorry I haven't posted for a while, but I've been busier than I ever wanted to be and have very little grasp of the concept of linear time. I appreciate the people who do stop by from time to time, no doubt in search of the latest cliffhanger post concerning Cobell v. Norton. Will Norton be held in contempt? Is she having Bush's love child? Will it be a toxic waste dump hellspawn? Stay tuned.

I do want to thank the dedicated reader who sent in the response to my Blood Quantum post. I'm sorry if I've been unclear sir, but I am straight. And please shave your back.

I do have some items in the pipe which I've been wanting to write about given the time; racial stereotypes and pop culture, determining tribal identity, why the Supreme Court needs an enema, and the insistence of the dominant culture in defining minority groups. Guaranteed to be a ton of laughs, and on the way we'll have some fun with commenters. Assuming someone comments.